Foreign Policy

Putin Clowns Around

It is going to take Russia a long time to get over Vladimir Putin. Because the U.S.put sanctions on many of Putin’s cronies after Russia ran a thinly disguised invasion of Ukraine, Putin retaliated by, among other things, sending inspectors out to find health and safety problems at ………MacDonald’s restaurants. Now, having effectively closed them, his minions are going after the Ronald MacDonald House charity, speculating that its is of money laundering.

Now, it is sad that satire of the Leader is not allowed in Putin’s Russia, for this sort of antic would be a ripe target. But it is more pathetic than sad that the U.S. lacks satirists to take on this subject. Regardless, the attack on on Ronald MacDonald House is laughable.

Unfortunately, the laugh is on ordinary Russians that benefit from Ronald MacDonald House services to families of sick and injured children in hospitals. They are the victims of Mr. Putin’s strange anger. Read More ›

U.S. Will Split on ISIS

Sadly, there is a circularity to the issue of war since, say, Korea (1950-53). Initially, the public is supportive (“rally ‘round the flag”), but as time and the cost in blood and treasure mount, critics are heard. Eventually, the support disappears. Right now the public wants and demands action against ISIS and other Islamist terror threats. There is new realism that admits—as did not happen in the U.S. Government after 9/11 and especially since Mr. Obama’s ascension—that the threat is from Muslim extremists. But otherwise the script looks distressingly familiar.

Republicans already are taking on their Democratic foes in Congressional races for being uninterested in the terrorism problem until now. That is happening, for example, in North Carolina.

On the other end of the spectrum, left-wingers who couldn’t find a bad thing to say about Barack Obama in 2008 or ’12 are now grumbling about his turnabout on the terrorism issue. Frank Rich, formerly of the New York Times and now of New York Magazine, and a reliable windsock of progressive trends, is furious.

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New Nukes Are Good News

It took a while for the United State Government to turn the nuclear disarmament ship around, but now that seems to have happened. Disarmament was a theme of Barack Obama’s foreign policy, even after it became clear that Russia is not living up to past agreements, China’s military ambitions are growing, and Iran is still not agreeing to step back from developing the bomb.

A failure to stand up to Russia, in particular, is dangerous at this juncture. Not content to threaten Ukraine, the Kremlin is trying to cow the Baltics. At present, NATO is woefully unprepared to answer a sophisticated challenge.. At present, NATO is woefully unprepared to answer a sophisticated challenge. The propaganda war and what (before World War II) once was known as “salami tactics” of Russian intimidation have to be answered in a conventional manner, but with updates.

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Aye or Nay in Scotland

Photo by Judi Beck.

Scots are famously (or notoriously) tight; er, frugal. They may look at the upcoming referendum through the lens of Braveheart resentments going back hundreds of years (and to the recent Mel Gibson movie), but those old issues really don’t apply today in any meaningful spiritual sense, let alone a practical one. The smart vote is “No”, as the Scotsman newspaper just said on its front page. Read More ›